Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Robert Gill
Valiant’s big event of the year is coming to an end with Book of Death #4, a strong, heartfelt finale that pushes the boundaries of what Valiant has done so far since its reboot. What could have been a massive Unity event became a beautiful look at nature, death, and fate, making the Book of Death event go above and beyond what is generally seen from any major comic book publisher.
Robert Venditti’s final issue of the series is the strongest, as he creates one of the most authentic relationships in the Valiant Universe. Gilad and Tama’s dynamic is more than just that of a child of fate and her protector. Gilad has worked with many geomancers in the past, but none have connected with The Eternal Warrior in such a way. Unity plays a minor role in this issue as well, as the team makes their final effort to track down Gilad and help save the world. Venditti mostly leaves the other characters in the background, and with good results. The decision to focus on two characters made the event feel more focused than it would have going for an epic, universe encompassing battle. The Valiant focused on Bloodshot and Kay, and Book of Death mostly follows the same pattern with Gilad and Tama. This formula is proving to be consistent, with this event being just as powerful as the previous.
The final confrontation with Darque is nothing short of exciting. The battle avoids clichés, and makes the heart race as the issue races towards the series conclusion. The outcome of the battle is shocking, with an unexpected final blow. Everything leads to a quiet, emotional ending that leaves the reader with closure.
I’ve been praising the art of Book of Death throughout its run, and Robert Gill ensures that the last issue of the event is the most gorgeous. There is a fantastic amount of detail that doesn’t intrude on the panels. No panel feels empty, but at the same time the pages avoid feeling overcrowded as well. Oftentimes the layout of the panels is crucial to a book having steady pacing, and this issue is a shining example of panels being perfectly structured. The final battle is intense and will make the reader sit at the edge of their seat due to a flow that almost feels animated.